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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...

Must the show go on? Loro Parque loses an orca

It is with great sadness that WDC learns about the death of the ten-month old orca known as Vicky at Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain. This poor orca never really stood a chance. I saw her at Loro Parque last September when she was just one month old. I was there to check up on Morgan after reading reports of her getting battered and rammed by the other orcas as they attempted to establish a social hierarchy over her. Whilst observing Morgan I could see this tiny calf at the far end of the holding pool receiving constant attention from the trainers. I knew this was Vicky and, like her older brother before her, also knew she had been rejected by their mother, Kohana, at birth.

This was hardly surprising. Kohana was just seven years old, a child herself, when she first became pregnant with Adan and was ten years old when she gave birth to her second calf. In the wild female orcas are at least 13 years old before they have their first born and then are surrounded by their extended family, often including mothers, aunts and grannies, providing expert care and support. Kohana does have a family of sorts at Loro Parque but in the very worst possible sense – the father of both her calves, according to media reports, is actually her uncle, Keto. Serious concerns over the level of inbreeding and orca attacks – on each other and their trainers – at Loro Parque has given this marine park the unenviable reputation of housing the most dysfunctional group of orcas in captivity today.

This vile ‘experiment’ in trying to display and breed these huge, powerful ocean animals in concrete tanks has surely failed. How many more must die before we say enough is enough?

 Today, there are now 45 captive orcas in 7 countries. 13 of these were snatched from the ocean.